February 25, 2007
February 24, 2007
February 23, 2007
St. John of the Cross, "Have great love for suffereing and consider it very little to attain the favor of the Spouse, who hesitated not to die for thee."
February 20, 2007
Michelangelo's Jonah in the Sistine Chapel
On Ash Wednesday we think back to the days of the Prophet Jonas (Jonah). When God told him to go to Ninive Jonah fled in weakness and fear from His Face. As a result God had Jonah swallowed up by a great fish. “And Jonas prayed to the Lord his God out of the belly of the fish. And he said: I cried out of my affliction to the Lord and he heard me: I cried out of the belly of hell and thou hast heard my voice” (Jonas 2:2-3). Henceforth the great fish spewed the Prophet upon the banks of Ninive, where the voice of God again spoke and told him to go forth into Ninive and preach. This time Jonas obeyed and he cried out “Yet forty days, and Ninive shall be destroyed. And the men of Ninive believed in God: and they proclaimed a fast and put on sackcloth from the greatest to the least. And the word came to the king of Ninive; and he rose up out of his throne, and cast away his robe from him and was clothed in sackcloth and sat in ashes.” (Jonas 3:4-6)
The Church today uses ashes to remind us that one day each and every one of us will end up where mankind began: “Remember man that thou art dust and to dust thou shalt return” with the sign of the cross imprinted on our forehead as a visible sign that we are sinners and are in need of both repentance and redemption.
“Thus saith the Lord: Be converted to Me with all your heart, in fasting and in weeping and in mourning. And rend your hearts and not your garments, and turn to the Lord your God: for He is gracious and merciful, patient and rich in mercy, and ready to repent of the evil.” Joel 2:12-13
February 19, 2007
Illuminated Ink is having another Coloring Contest (the above is only a copy and not to be used for the coloring contest). Children *and* Adults are welcome to participate so if any of you are like me and like to do these things too, then this is your chance! Be sure to visit their website too! They have alot of great gifts for Easter Baskets!
February 18, 2007
These pictures were from my dear friend Cecilia in Italy in honor of Fra Angelico. The above is Fra Angelicos' self portrait. He was beatified in 1984 but has been considered since his lifetime to be saintly. Today has been considered his feast day though not found on the calendars.
Fra Angelico's rendition of The Holy Face.
Eleanor turns 4
The fun began at Grandma and Grandpa's after piano lessons. We celebrated Eleanor's 4th birthday with Grandma's lovely daffodil cake. Being that I'm a very unskilled frosting maker, I have to mention that I am not a frosting person but the frosting on this cakes was really good. It is called 7 minute frosting. It reminded me of a frosting I tried to make when I was a child, probably middle school aged. It was called "White Mountain Frosting" and was from the old Betty Crocker cookbook (or one of then anyway!) well, my white mountain frosting turn brown and hard as a rock. But Grandma's frosting was what I had *dreamed* mine was suppose to look like way back then.
Eleanor with the addition to the girls' Calico Critters Collection. This is the wedding set, the girls really wanted a church... they aren't too interested in weddings... thank goodness! Isn't that car adorable?
Matthew's Heart Attack pound cake from the St. Mary's Oratory Cookbook was the choice this time with Bunny Tracks ice cream.
Blowing out the 4 candles.
Eleanor's birthday food picks were pancakes and sausage for breakfast, pigs in blankets (actually they are cows in blankets as they are beef nitrate free hotdogs) for lunch and barbecue sandwiches (which in other parts of the country is called Sloppy Joes) for supper.
Sunday the 18th started out with Mass as usual followed by the Quinquagesima (did I spell that right?!) celebration at our church. This year was a pancake breakfast by one of our young men, Matthew (pastry chef... actually same said chef of the above mentioned Pound Cake) It was huge too... pancakes, eggs, hash brown potatoes, sausage, bacon, fruit with the most delicious whipped cream on top. I really thought a loud applause was in-line but I'm not the type to stand up and do such things! There were gifties for the children as well as a raffle.
Galadriel won one of the raffle prizes... $10 in cash! She was tickled! And so was I as we don't tend to be on the winning side of anything!
Rosie and Eleanor
And good friends. Aren't they just scrumptious children? Being that I got chatting with a couple families I forgot to continue taking some pictures.
The 19th is my MIL/FIL's Anniversary, so we had them over for supper.
Oddly it somewhat resembles our Valentine's Day Fare. We had chicken parmesan, tortellini, salad and garlic bread. For being about as far from Italian as we can get we love Italian foods, though I suppose my dear friend Cecilia in Italy would say this is American food! :D
February 16, 2007
Lent is a lovely time of year. It lasts for 40 days plus the 6 Sundays, which fall outside the Great Lenten Fast. During this most holy season, we are called as Faithful Catholics to spend time in prayer and penance for the expiation of our sins.
Since the evil one tends to work overtime during Lent I decided it was in my best interest to make a calendar-chart just for Lent. I made a simple chart and filled it in with the date and what *I* needed to accomplish that day. This includes spiritual readings (Dolorous Passion and Divine Intimacy daily as well as the Sermons of St. John Vianney on Saturday evenings) and some do's and don'ts to help in some way to work on virtue, to avoid vice and to grow in holiness.
As our children's first and primary educators it seems important to give them a living Faith so that they may begin early to grow in holiness... namely so they can live the Faith out in their daily lives for their whole lives. Lent is a wonderful time to help the children brush up on their Faith through extra spiritual reading, acts of charity and kindness and working on their faults and failings.
Lenten Calendar 2007
This Lenten Calendar was originally published by Dumb Ox before they went out of business. I have used the Traditional and Historical Calendars and saved the calendar as a Word Document so you may alter the Saints, Sacrifices and any other information you may wish to change.
8x11 printable-size links available on each page for copying to fit on a single piece of paper. They are available in 3 fonts because I found out that some computers don't accept "monotype corsivo", a fancy font that I used to make this. It may take a few seconds to load for those of us with slow dial-ups!
February 21 - 24
The Scourging at the Pillar
What I like most about the calendar is that even in weak moments, during those spiritually dry spells, we can just refer to the calendar and at least do *something* that we will accomplish for the Love of God and the expiation for our sins each day of Lent. In these busy days it is too easy to forget that Lent is a time of Penance.
For younger children try this crown of thorns. Each time they do their sacrifice of the day have them put a rose sticker on each "pokey". Another internet friend of mine had done a three-dimensional version with clay, tooth picks and silk flowers.
May you have a Blessed Lenten Season.
February 15, 2007
February 14, 2007
We aren't big celebraters but we do like to eat good food! Certain days get a more festive-looking fare and today is one of them. Reds (martyr), Pinks and White (purity)... of course!
Breakfast was homemade bagels with plum cream cheese.
Notice that a couple of the bagels even took on a slightly heart-shaped appearance. The plum cream cheese was just cream cheese beaten with plum jelly we made last fall. I did have to add in a couple drops of food grade coloring to make it pink enough to my Valentine day liking! Strawberries were suppose to be part of breakfast but the local store had the poorest selection.... sighhhh....
My latest food experiment has been homemade bagels. Here is my recipe with my every-day white bread recipe:
1-1/2 Tbl Yeast
2/3 c Sugar
2 c warm water
Let sit 10 minutes til frothy.
1/4 c Oil
1-1/2 tsp Salt
6 c Flour
I make mine in a kitchen aid so I just use the spiral (or C hook), and gradually add in the flour on speed 2. When blended stir for 2 more minutes. Or you can knead til smooth and elastic.
Let rise 40 minutes.
Put on a large spaghetti pot 1/2 full of water to boil.
Divide dough into 12 balls.
Poke your finger through the middle and pull to make a 2 inch hole in the middle... should look like a donut. Place on a floured place (counter or a pan). Let rise for 20 minutes.
Preheat oven to 350 degrees (how do you make that degree symbol?!)
Place 3 bagels into pot and boil 1 minute, flip the bagels over and boil 1 more minute.
Place wet bagels on paper towels to dry. Blot out any excess water.
Place bagels on a *very* lightly grease pan (just enough so they won't stick).
Bake for 35 minutes flipping once 1/2 way through baking.
Lunch was Mozzerella Cheese, Summer Sausage (they were suppose to be heart shaped but I couldn't find my cookie cutter and carving them wasn't something I was interested in doing!! Of course my dear husband later asked me why I didn't just cut a notch down the top of the summer sausage at the beginning before slicing.... why didn't I think of that?!) and Crackers. Strawberry Yogurt (Stoneyfield Farm of course!), Red Peppers and Radishes with dip and for dessert we had heart-shaped brownies (found these neat heart tin foil shapes at the store) and some candies from grandma et all. I did offer everyone some red food grade coloring to put in their milk but there was no show of hands for that one! We never eat gum around here but they received some in a Valentine's Day card so they had a bit of a chew (*sitting at the table*.... yeah, I got alot of gum in my hair as a child!!). Their favorite part of course was watching me blow bubbles.
Dinner was Pork Tenderloin on Garlic and Parsley Spaghetti, Salad with several red things... peppers, radishes and grape tomatoes and White Chocolate Chip *Biscuits" (they were suppose to be muffins but muffins become biscuits when you forget to put in the baking powder!) Still no one showed any hands for pink milk, however strawberry flavored red drinks are much more acceptable.
Pork Tenderloin is made just like Chicken Parmesan. Dip the tenderloin in egg then in Italian Bread crumbs. I like double dipping so then I dip in egg again and again in the Italian Bread crumbs. Then deep fry til the breading has browned. Place in a pan with a thin layer of pasta sauce on the bottom. Then pour more sauce over the top. Cover with mozzerella and parmesan cheeses. Cover with tin foil and place in the oven for about 45 minutes to an hour. Then remove covering and bake another 10 minutes. As a friend of mine would say "delish!" Since this is pork, be sure to check for done-ness.
For the salad I use my SILs salad dressing recipe which is so simple but far more "delish" than anything from a store (I must get a good blue cheese recipe... anyone?) Anyway just put 1/2 c sugar, 1/2 c vinegar, 2/3 c oil and a tsp of salt into a canning jar with lid. Shake very well (separates very quickly) and pour over. Store the remainder in the fridge. Same said SIL also taught me this little trick for crunchies. Take a package of ramen noodles and crunch them up and stir fry them in a tad of oil til slightly browned. I added in some garlic granules too. Let cool and sprinkle over salad.
Desserts included heart shaped brownies for lunch intended to be brownie sundaes but we were just way too full. And for supper the dessert was Almond Cheesecake in a chocolate cookie crust, almonds, caramel topping and whip cream. The Snickers Bar is the King-sized... from my valentine.
This picture was on our bulletin this week for St. Valentine, I'd sure love to know the artist and the history behind it!
An internet friend sent this in an email. After working on it a bit I was able to get it to line up to be viewed as a jpg:
This is a nice story I found a few years ago.
The story of Valentine's Day begins in the third century with an oppressive Roman emperor and a humble Christian martyr. The emperor was Claudius II Gothicus. The Christian was Valentinus.
Claudius had ordered all Romans to worship state religion's idols, and he had made it a crime punishable by death to associate with Christians. But Valentinus was dedicated to the ideals of Christ, and not even the threat of death could keep him from practicing his beliefs.
During the last weeks of Valentinus's life a remarkable thing happened. One day a jailer for the Emperor of Rome knocked at Valentinus's door clutching his blind daughter in his arms. He had learned of Valentinus's medical and spiritual healing abilities, and appealed to Valentinus to treat his daughter's blindness. She had been blind since birth. Valentinus knew that her condition would be difficult to treat but he gave the man his word he would do his best. The little girl was examined, given an ointment for her eyes and a series of re-visits were scheduled.
Seeing that he was a man of learning, the jailer asked whether his daughter, Julia, might also be brought to Valentinus for lessons. Julia was a pretty young girl with a quick mind. Valentinus read stories of Rome's history to her. He described the world of nature to her. He taught her arithmetic and told her about God. She saw the world through his eyes, trusted in his wisdom, and found comfort in his quiet strength. "Valentinus, does God really hear our prayers?" Julia said one day. "Yes, my child, He hears each one, "he replied. "Do you know what I pray for every morning and every night? I pray that I might see. I want so much to see everything you've told me about!" "God does what is best for us if we will believe in Him," Valentinus said. "Oh, Valentinus, I do believe," Julia said intensely. "I do." She knelt and grasped his hand. They sat quietly together, each praying. Several weeks passed and the girl's sight was not restored. Yet the man and his daughter never wavered in their faith and returned each week.
Then one day, Valentinus received a visit from Roman soldiers who arrested him, destroyed his medicines and advised him against his religious beliefs. When the little girl's father learned of his arrest and imprisonment, he wanted to intervene but there was nothing he could do.
On the eve of his death, Valentinus wrote a last note to Julia - knowing his execution was imminent. Valentinus asked the jailer for a paper, pen and ink. He quickly jotted a farewell note and handed it to the jailer to give to his blind daughter. He urged her to stay close to God, and he signed it From Your Valentine. His sentence was carried out the next day, February 14, 270 A.D., near a gate that was later named Porta Valentini in his memory.
When the jailer went home, he was greeted by his little girl. The little girl opened the note and discovered a yellow crocus inside. The message said, From your Valentine. As the little girl looked down upon the crocus that spilled into her palm she saw brilliant colors for the first time in her life! The girl's eyesight was restored! A miracle!
He was buried at what is now the Church of Praxedes in Rome. It is said that Julia herself planted a pink-blossomed almond tree near his grave. Today, the almond tree remains a symbol of abiding love and friendship. In 496 Pope Gelasius named February 14 as Saint Valentine's Day. On each Valentine's Day, messages of affection, love and devotion are still exchanged around the world.
St. Valentine Day Coloring Page can be found HERE!
February 13, 2007
This is our Little House in the Little Woods. Some of Aragorn's brother's built it a few years ago. It's a real log cabin including a loft all in child-size form. I thought it was pretty sitting out there in the snow.
Need I say this was built by Samwise with the help of Aragorn? Like father like son. This is the Flintstone Mobile without the tarp on top. "Snow Car" can be made to go faster or slower by the pressure on the "wheels" (if oil barrels can be considered wheels!) Never a dull moment around here!